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Ben Franklin is just one of many commenting on the connection between learning and entrepreneurship. What are you favorites?

The best entrepreneurship is a dynamic merging of risk-taking, creativity, collaboration, imagination, and curiosity. To manage and elevate these characteristics, entrepreneurs need to constantly, steadily, and voraciously learn. The higher entrepreneurs build stock in these qualities, the higher their companies and fortunes can rise. There is a wealth of philosophy about education and entrepreneurship, and a goldmine of rich language describing it. These quotes are for, about, and inspiring to entrepreneurs with a boundless appetite for knowledge:     

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”—Benjamin Franklin

“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities — that’s training or instruction — but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.”—Thomas Moore

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”—William Pollard

“For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”—Dorothy L. Sayers

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”—Jim Rohn

“As an entrepreneur, you never stop learning.”—Daymond John

“Failure is a great teacher, and I think when you make mistakes and you recover from them and you treat them as valuable learning experiences, then you’ve got something to share.”—Steve Harvey

“All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think.”—Sir Ken Robinson

“Growing up in a group home, and with an undiagnosed learning disability to boot, the odds of success were not on my side. But when I joined the high school football team, I learned the value of discipline, focus, persistence, and teamwork — all skills that have proven vital to my career as a C.E.O. and social entrepreneur.”—Darell Hammond

“One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.”—John W. Gardner

“It is a truism that is nonetheless rarely acknowledged in formal education that failure is a necessary step on the road to success and innovation.”—Laura Fleming

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”—Steve Jobs

“It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”—Mark Cuban

“Since we live in an age of innovation, a practical education must prepare a man for work that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly defined.”—Peter F. Drucker

“The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.” —Marva Collins

These are, of course, only some of the quotes concerning learning and entrepreneurship. What do you see as the connection between a thirst for knowledge and a hunger to innovate? Is this inspiring? Do you have any favorites you would like to add to the list? We would love to hear from you. Leave your comments below.

 

Who are some of today’s most fearless, audacious and boldest entrepreneurs? Here are some of them and why they made the list.

Fearless. Audacious. Bold. These are some of the characteristics we use to describe entrepreneurs. So, then, who are the most audacious, the bravest, and the boldest? Which entrepreneurs are inspiring to other entrepreneurs?

Elon Musk

Sure, he’s got production and regulatory trouble at Tesla. His well-documented meltdowns and string of PR crises are now legendary. Still. It remains clear that Musk is a genius with remarkable grit and vision. SpaceX successfully launched and landed a giant rocket and also booked Japanese fashion guru, Yusaku Maezawa, to take the first private flight around the moon. Chicago purchased his hyperloop technology to connect downtown with O’Hare airport. Tesla’s battery division, Gigafactory 1 is humming along and looks to increase from 3,000 employees six months ago to 20,000 in the near future. Perhaps Steve Jobs said it best: “Bold, daring entrepreneurship is messy. It’s complex. But the crazy ones will get [stuff] done.”  

Mary T. Barra

General Motors was established 110 years ago, but Barra is pushing GM like a moonshot startup. Her focus is on autonomous driving and car sharing. She plans to eliminate all automobile crashes, emissions, and congestion. Recently, Cruise, GM’s autonomous car subsidiary, earned a $2.25 billion investment from SoftBank Vision Fund, Uber’s biggest shareholder. Rather than stodgily trailing behind the upstarts, Barra is pushing GM into the future and taking her customers along for the ride.

Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone

College friends Ellis and Noone cut their teeth at USC’s Rocket Propulsion Lab. They decided that they could make a 3D printed rocket and send it into space. Instead of 100,000 parts, the rocket is made of only 1,000 parts, a huge efficiency if they can get it off the ground. The project certainly is launching. They have raised more than $45 million dollars and have the backing of celebrity investor, Mark Cuban. The two are reinventing processes for one of the most difficult, complex undertakings: space flight. Ellis admits that the endeavor is “borderline crazy,” but they have recently partnered with NASA and plan their first flight for 2020.

Anne Wojcicki

Wojcicki is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. They are the first company to receive FDA approval to directly sell genetic cancer-testing kits that do not require a doctor’s prescription. Additionally, she has also announced plans for 23andMe to study the genetics of depression and bipolar disorder. Further, she is partnering with GSK to develop new treatments based on genetic insights. Her goal is to upend the current medical model. Right now, healthcare players make money off illness, and there is “very little incentive for preventing illness.” Wojcicki says, “When people have access to their information, they can mitigate risk.”

Daniela Perdomo

After Hurricane Sandy, huge areas of New York were without electricity and internet. Perdomo was shocked. Without a signal, her phone was an expensive calculator. Perdomo and her brother co-founded goTenna to bridge communication gaps in times of crisis. They developed a dollar bill sized piece of technology that pairs, via Bluetooth, with a cell phone. It uses radio waves to send and receive texts up to four miles from a working tower. The next generation, goTenna Mesh, works with other units to build networks that expand range, and allows strong, reliable communication when the grid goes down. She took goTenna to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and set up public access for residents. She is unrelenting and suggests we should all be “asking questions about the resilience of our infrastructure.”

These are just five of the dozens of bold entrepreneurs we could have featured, and not meant to be a definitive list. Instead, it is meant to begin a conversation. The real question is this: Who inspires you?

Lifestyle entrepreneurs want to build solutions and make money, but they feel their most valuable resource is time.

Often, when you think of an entrepreneur, you think of someone who is passionate about building solutions, works tirelessly, and primarily measures the success of their organization in terms of money. But money is not the only reward available. Another resource is time. Lifestyle entrepreneurs want to build wealth, but not at the cost of time. Time to travel. Time to have a family. Maybe to visit European cathedrals, hang out on a beach, or take a little mountain bike ride.  

Lifestyle entrepreneurs make their living online. All they need is a laptop and a secure connection to start MMO—making money online. By leveraging technology, these entrepreneurs are able to leap traditional business barriers. They understand the power of the web and build potent, efficient businesses that focus on their areas of expertise and outsource everything else.

Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek is now considered an essential read for people who want to work to live. Ten years ago he suggested that entrepreneurs can have both financial and life freedom. Living more and working less, he calls it. But you can’t just dive in. Here are some tips:

Getting Your Feet Wet

For those looking to get started, it’s important to leverage opportunities related to your skills and passions. Don’t chase down ideas that are unrelated to what you love to do and what you are good at. Secondly, start slowly. Test a few social media ads, then immediately begin revising based on the response you get. Constantly tweak your product mix and ads, finding resources to help you find new ways to drive traffic to your site.

Every Builder Needs the Right Tools

There are easily accessible platforms available—the best offer cloud-based global logistics and supply chain tools. These platforms allow you to generate millions of dollars without the overhead of in-house production and distribution operations. Merchants can utilize drop-shipping platforms that enlist suppliers that take orders and directly ship to customers. Other services search for specialized manufacturers though product sourcing platforms.

Feel The Power…of Analytics

Entrepreneurs can generate granular data analytics to get precise information about who their consumers are and what and when they are buying. Perhaps the most attractive thing about lifestyle entrepreneurship is that, with access to this data, anyone can create a thriving business. And that business might pay huge dividends. Of time. Which you may need to recuperate. Especially if you take too many mountain bike rides like these.   

Social entrepreneurs can push Non-profits to use data and technology to drive solutions for sets of people, issues or causes.
“It’s no longer about just giving a man a fish or even teaching a man to fish. We need to revolutionize the fishing industry.” —Bill Drayton

Successful nonprofits are often begun by passionate, driven individuals who focus on building solutions for sets of people, issues, or causes. Because of these characteristics, by some definitions, these individuals are entrepreneurs. Yet, nonprofits are often so focused on small-scale or single solutions, they don’t consider revolutionary strategies. They may use data and technology to support their efforts, rather than employing these resources to drive solutions. This shift could allow them to become social change entrepreneurs.

Better Data, Better Services

In a recent Recode article, Stanford University lecturer, Kathleen Kelly, spoke about how 75 percent of nonprofits collect data, but only six percent feel confident about how to use it effectively. Better use of data, Kelly suggests, will lead to more effective nonprofits that more successfully serve their people, causes, and issues.

Previously, nonprofits were run by socially conscious, caring people who were willing to work tirelessly, often for less money than they might make in the private sector. As the entrepreneurial mindset begins to establish itself, nonprofits will employ a more diverse workforce than just the socially conscious. Social justice and change movements need computer science majors and engineering majors. Kelly feels that this is a generational shift. Well over half of millennials say their company’s sense of social responsibility makes a difference on whether they want to work there. This will probably only increase. Over sixty percent of teens want to work in a company that positively impacts the world.

More Time and Money For the Cause

One great area of opportunity is fundraising, according to Kelly. Nonprofits spend about three-quarters of their time asking for donations. This leaves less time to solve the challenging issues that they originally organized for. Testing and innovation, measuring impact, implementing better storytelling and more creative asks — all of these could give nonprofits more resources, both money and time, to fight for their cause.

Kelly refers to a nonprofit crowdfunding platform designed to provide extracurricular activities for low-income kids. Before beginning, the founder took the time to ask the kids she was helping to write about what they needed. She sent these letters out to friends and family and received thousands of dollars in response. Kelly suggests that she took her lesson from lean startups that build a minimum viable product, then test and measure before building. She scaled her operation so that it now serves thousands of U.S. students and has a multi-million dollar budget.

This is just one example. Kelly has many more, including political campaigns built on outpourings of $5 to $20 contributions. Taking your story and cause to more people and employing data and technology can build more effective social change. And this trend is only just beginning. Gen Z is ready to make their own contributions to bringing the entrepreneurial mindset to affect social change.  

Maybe you hate your job, or maybe you see opportunities where others see problems. Are you an entrepreneur? Have you seen the entrepreneurial signs?

There are entrepreneurial signs, sure. Business leaders are a little bit, well, different. Do you think you’re one? Below are two separate types of entrepreneurs. Which one are you? And which type has the best chance of making it?

Entrepreneur Type #1

You were the kid with the lemonade stand that got bigger and more ambitious every year. Or, you had a way of grabbing someone’s attention before they could slam the door in your face—hawking magazines, cookies, or candy door-to-door. Maybe you were someone who just saw the world differently: diving headfirst into software, science, or math problems like a baby otter into water.

Entrepreneur Type #2

You’ve always been nagged by a great idea for a business, an innovation so brilliant you haven’t run it by anyone, because you can never be too careful. Or, you want to open a coffee shop at a corner with no competition for blocks in either direction, but you don’t like people or even, truth told, coffee very much. Or, you work in a job you hate and dream of being your own boss, and jump at the first entrepreneurial opportunity that comes up, without knowing much about the industry or running a business.

What’s the main difference? Type #2s see a single, narrow opportunity—for themselves usually. Type #1s see the world as an opportunity. That’s not to say that all Type #1s will succeed and that all Type #2s will fail. Economic winds push opportunity unsteadily, and it’s hard to say what mix of personality and ideas will be successful.  

Need more help? How many of these boxes can you check off?

  • You tried 9 to 5 and it made you insane.
  • “I know more than my boss” isn’t a mere belief, it’s imprinted in your DNA.
  • You’re too busy seeing opportunities to see problems.
  • You were raised in a family of entrepreneurs.
  • When you dive into something you don’t come up until you’ve figured it out.
  • Solutions. They’re, like, your thing, man.
  • After a month at a new job, you’re a truly awful employee.
  • You connect with people and they naturally look to you for advice.
  • Job security makes you feel nervous, itchy and in urgent need of an exit.
  • Driven 24/7 to eat better, get stronger, play harder, and be better.

The Game Changer

Of course, some of these are the classic traits for business leaders, while others might just be characteristics of bad employees. But, big combinations of these traits sort of scream: entrepreneur.

No one is saying that strengths can’t make up for weaknesses. Leadership and an ability to connect can be learned for those who are expert solution builders. But there is little hope of future business success for undriven, non-creative people who mostly hate their jobs and the people around them.

There is one thing we haven’t mentioned yet, the game changer—passion. Passion can get an entrepreneur through the bleakest moments. Only those who are all-in, and fully committed and driven, can take the next step, make the next phone call, and close the next deal when the bank account is shot and it’s dark and rainy outside. When most people are ready to walk away, the entrepreneur is just getting started.  

Runners hit the wall, and entrepreneurs are no different. Find resilience and energy, even when you feel like you can’t go on.

It’s hard out there for an entrepreneur sometimes. The pressure from clients and employees is great, the hours are long, and the chance for failure is always around the corner. It requires unlimited resilience and boundless energy. Except those qualities are finite resources. Just as the most powerful marathoners can hit the wall, even the strongest leaders have their limits. Still, the organization needs you, and you need it, even when you’re exhausted. How do you get beyond the wall, even when you feel like you can’t go on?

Routines

Routines are your best friends. Load up on work during your most productive part of the day. Make sure you are eating and resting regularly. And leave some personal time each day to get centered and focused. Even 10 minutes of meditation is helpful; mindful breathing can allow you to connect to your deepest resources.

The Why

Be very clear about what gets you fired up, who you are trying to help, and what your goals are. Write it down. Display it on a wall, or carry it around with you. The why will sustain you when times get tough. Hint: Making money will only take you so far. You need to constantly connect with your why.  

Small Steps

Big leaps forward are awesome, and if you keep at it with enough skill and determination, they will happen. But there can be droughts of giant breakthroughs. Instead, be thankful for every small step forward. Take nothing for granted. Write each and every small victory down in a journal so you can look back and see just how far you have come.

ZZZZZZs

Get some sleep. Seriously. Tour de France cyclists, some of the most intense endurance athletes in the world, sleep up to ten hours per night to replenish their bodies and mentally refresh. Entrepreneurs, with their demanding schedules and responsibilities, need sleep just as badly. Find a sleep schedule that works for you and stick to it. Your business depends upon it.

Mentors

You have blind spots and weaknesses. Everyone does. A trusted mentor can see things when you are up against your limits. Find individuals who you respect and have been through the fires. Build relationships with them. They can use your energy, and you can use their wisdom. It’s a win-win.

Connect

Surround yourself with positive people that sustain you. Build these groups both at, and outside, work. Being an entrepreneur can be isolating, but humans are social creatures. Despite pressures, you have to find people who inspire joy, wisdom, and caring. Giving to and receiving from those who you love opens you to an abundant present, carrying you through the hardest of times.

Recover, Recover, Recover

Have recovery practices in place. Music, affirmations, inspiring spiritual words, gratitude journals, vision boards—anything that builds you up after you have been pushed down. Tough times will come. Have recovery infrastructure in place to so that you can rise again.

In running, hitting the wall is very specific. When glycogen is depleted, runners feel intense fatigue and negativity. Runners need to make sure that they are properly trained and that they keep up with the fuel needs of their bodies. Entrepreneurs are no different. They need to have strategies in place to fuel them through the wall and beyond. Some of the most brilliant solutions are just on the other side of the most challenging moments.   

Astrology may or may not help your business, but you will be successful if are able to learn how to focus your energies.

The world can be a steady stream of endless distractions. Even if you’re just average, you check your phone 80 to 150 times per day. And maybe you spend more time than you wanted on Insta because your friend’s adorable bunny led you down a 45 minute rabbit hole. You binge all of The Haunting of Hill House over the weekend—and somehow that is less scary than looking at your finances. Which you put off doing. Again.

We know. We get it.  

But here’s the thing. If you are going to get that business off the ground, you’re going to have to learn to do one thing really well. Because it’s not who you know. It’s not where you’re from. No, it’s not about your astrological sign, either. Okay, maybe a little. The main thing, though, that sets the most successful entrepreneurs apart is their ability to focus. And, here is the secret part: you don’t have to be born with focus — you can learn it.

Of course, there are books and coaches out there that will sell you some focus. But, honestly you can just DIY it. It just requires an openness and some discipline. Alright, a lot of discipline. But it’s not like you have to be all work and no play. In fact, that’s the beauty. Play is built in.

One system, designed by Dan Sullivan, is made up of Focus Days, Buffer Days, and Free Days. All are essential for the greater good, and that good is doing what entrepreneurs do best: innovating, building solutions, and adding value to the lives of clients and employees.

Focus Days

On these days, you spend most of your time doing what you do best. Usually, these are the days entrepreneurs live for. If you are a builder, you build. If you are a writer, you write. If you are launching a business, liftoff! It’s the time to play to your strengths. One practitioner of the system, Danielle LaPorte, makes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday her days to focus. She doesn’t answer the phone or email. The block in the middle of the week allows her time to build momentum and generate the work that not only makes her happiest, but also makes her the most money.

Buffer Days

These are the days you lay the infrastructure for focus days. This is when you do the have-to’s such as meetings, planning sessions, proposals — everything that allows full attention on focus days. LaPorte does this on Mondays and Fridays, starting and ending her week with the tasks, emails and phone calls that get in the way of the heart-singing stuff. For her, Monday and Friday are like stretching out before and after an exhilarating workout. It feels good to do even mundane tasks because you have a sense of purpose.

Free Days

Free Days are key. And they have rules. They have to be at least 24 hours with 100 percent exclusion of work worries. You get proper sleep. You do activities that renew and refresh. LaPorte lets it roll on weekends—“play, party, veg, nest.” She also holds Sundays especially sacred. Giving up her computer, she reads for inspiration and connects with friends. Sullivan says these recharge days are as important as any others. Without regularly unplugging, systems get overheated, and that’s when mistakes are made.

Focusing energy and time with a disciplined, uber-productive system is a way to take your entrepreneurship to the next level. It’s totally up to each person to decide if setting a date for your business launch should be a Focus Day or a Buffer Day. Also, make sure not to do it on a day when Mercury is in retrograde, though you better have “Mars, Jupiter and Saturn direct.” But don’t do it on a Free Day. Remember, planets and stars are fine on your free days, but no business!       

Knowledge Resources for Entrepreneurs
(Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash)

It seems like everyone wants to become an entrepreneur but many do not have the knowledge to do so. To help out everyone who has had the entrepreneurial drive, here are a few resources which may help understand how to analyze a product, how to find a product-market fit, how to define the role of the founders, how to form a strong work culture, and how to stay solvent. With this knowledge, you might also find ways to choose a good board of directors, good analytics, and how to form a strategy for your business.

Knowledge:

Steve Blank’s List of Tools and Blogs for entrepreneurs comes from the associate professor of entrepreneurship at Stanford and writer of the “Startup Owner’s Manual” and “Four Stages to the Epiphany.” Steve Blank has founded eight companies, of which four went public. Forbes listed him as one of the most influential men in the technology sector, and while his thoughts might be skewed towards that sector, his views on entrepreneurship shouldn’t be ignored. Steve is the originator of the lean startup method for creating companies popularized by his student, Eric Reis.

Paul Graham’s Essays are sometimes considered must-read material for ambitious entrepreneurs. These essays were created by the venture capitalist and software engineer who co-founded Y Combinator, a business designed to help startups. This collection of essays has wonderful phrases like “You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.” With such simple and effective advice, it’s easy to see the value in his writing. Warning: some of the essays are political pieces.

Books:

The Lean Startup presents a “new” entrepreneurship movement which can be summed up in the following quote: “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” This method seeks to test a product, fail faster, and prove the product is worth improving. It does this by building a minimum viable product and developing more only when the situation requires it. The Build-Measure-Learn loop of product development is the main takeaway from this great book, but the wisdom contained within this book makes it a compelling read.

Blitzscaling is a new book by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh which deals with how to set up businesses to experience massive growth. Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn and Yeh co-founded Wasabi Ventures, so both are used to creating companies with massive growth. This book shows how an entrepreneur might position their company in a way to take advantage of massive growth opportunities. Entrepreneurs involved with Blitzscaling also delivered a variety of entrepreneurship lectures at Stanford, which can be found here.

Funding:

Y Combinator wants to be the first investor in a company and helps it to be successful. If you send in an application, Y Combinator may invite you to a 3-month training “boot camp” with other founders. Y Combinator may be able to set up connections between founders while teaching entrepreneurs how to pitch to investors. This resource attempts to give startups the right knowledge to help create a business that can thrive. They also provide a long list of interesting ideas they think will change the future if an entrepreneur is looking for inspiration.

Floodgate tries to be one of the first to invest in a company. They evaluate a startup on five separate characteristics:

  1. Proprietary Power – Everyone is trying to be better, but can you be different? Can it be completely unfair to compete against you? Can it be unassailable, for example like 25 years of research that you have exclusive rights to?
  2. Product Power – Does the business solve a problem that exists in the market? Does it solve the problem in such a way that it is obvious, convenient, and inspiring? Did the business quickly attract the attention of a lot of people and grow out of control?
  3. Company Power – Does your company have the proper foundations? Does it have a culture that minimizes management debt and technical debt? Does it have lightweight meetings, efficient teams, and the right meetings? Can everyone execute better and faster?
  4. Business Model Power – Does the way your business model work make sense? Does your company have a good financial plan to translate consumer interest and participation into profits? How will the business model change when the business is successful?
  5. Competitive Power – Can you reframe or redefine how people think of the market? Can you change distribution channels as Amazon did with “the online bookstore”? Is your Business unique enough to immediately stick in a customer’s mind?

Companies that pass these judgments are a “Godzilla” company. Companies like this are more likely to attract investors, which may propel the business forward.

Series Seed equity financing docs can help with any additional funding that an entrepreneur might need by providing open source documentation to help entrepreneurs apply for their Series A, B, and C funding. Michael Dearing, the founder of Harrison Metal, has stated that these documents are his exclusive templates for funding.

Let us know if you have any other entrepreneurial knowledge you would be willing to share in the comments below.

What is your entrepreneurial DNA? Are you a Builder, Specialist, Opportunist, and Innovator? Understanding strengths and weaknesses determines outcomes.

 

You have an amazing innovation you want to bring to market. Your innovation, though, is only one factor in this statement. The other one is you. Your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur will intensely impact your ability to succeed. Investors are increasingly looking to back entrepreneurs whose strengths match up with their projects. One portfolio manager of high-growth international companies, Joe Abraham, calls these characteristics your entrepreneurial DNA, which he breaks down into four quadrants: Builder, Specialist, Opportunist, and Innovator.

Builder

Do you excel at constructing an organization from the foundation up? If so, you might be a Builder. These entrepreneurs pride themselves on their strategic abilities, seeing exactly what needs to happen to get to a specific goal, staying ahead of the competition at every step. They love the battle and love winning even more. Often, Builders are described as calculating, ruthless, cold, focused, and driven.

Specialist

Specialists enter an industry and spend the rest of their lives becoming an expert. They are strong on knowledge and relationships in their specific corner of the business world, but can struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace of competitors. Specialists are great at starting small, family businesses, but, when it comes to scaling, lack the vision and broader experience to succeed.

Opportunist

Are you a dreamer? Do you pride yourself on your limitless imagination? Opportunists dream big, go big, and, when they crash, go down in flames big. When you find yourself, for good or bad, diving into projects more quickly than is expedient, you are flying your Opportunist flag. Impatient, these entrepreneurs are constantly looking to be in the right place at the right time to make money.

Innovator

The strength of the Innovator is to work meticulously and tirelessly to perfect their invention, product, system, recipe, or product. Their weakness is that they focus so much on their innovations, they miss opportunities because the realities of the business environment are less engaging than innovation breakthroughs and solutions.    

There is no explicit formula for success. Each of these types of entrepreneurs have strengths and weaknesses that powerfully impact the likelihood of successfully bringing an innovation to market. Investors, more than anything, are looking for execution rather than an idea. For investors, when a Builder teams up with an Innovator, the potential for success is unlimited.

Even if you don’t believe in narrowly defined characteristics determining outcomes, it is critically important to fully understand your strengths and weaknesses. To bring your innovation to market, you will have to build a team that makes up for your weaknesses. The success of your business may depend upon your ability to look inward, before you start looking outward.  

Entrepreneurs distinguish themselves by linking together qualities such as being positively engaged, true grit, and open to change and learning

No knock on business owners, but not all people who own businesses are entrepreneurs. Like entrepreneurs, business owners risk more, take on more responsibility, and have more control over their work lives than employees. The difference, then, is the motivation. Entrepreneurs are not simply trying to make a living, but measure themselves by their achievement and success. As Peter Drucker, one of the founders of modern management, says, an entrepreneur is “someone who always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

And though not every entrepreneur is the same, there are core elements that many share. These qualities link together, forming chains of strength that entrepreneurs use to pull themselves forward. Here are a few:

Proactively Engaged

Successful entrepreneurs have the vision to initiate actions, playing offense instead of defense. Instead of doing the bare minimum, or even underperforming, they outwork, outhustle, and outthink their competitors. This proactiveness has entrepreneurs looking ahead to where they want to go, versus constantly being stuck in regret over where they’ve been.

True Grit

Is life a series of obstacles or learning opportunities? Your answer to this question might tell you if you are truly an entrepreneur. In your effort to build solutions to market needs, you will face endless vexing and seemingly unsolvable issues. If you rage and resist these challenges, you might want to find another line of work. Entrepreneurs are consistently adaptable and resourceful. This allows them to persevere when most are ready to quit, thriving on adversity that make them better and stronger individuals.

And Change

Though everyone knows that the world is constantly shifting, most try to build a wall against it, yearning for predictability in a flood of transition. Real entrepreneurs actually embrace change, because that is where opportunity exists. Charles Darwin noted that species’ survival depends not on strength or intelligence, but on adaptability. Entrepreneurs view change as a positive and know that their ability to respond and adapt gives them an edge in every situation.

Learning is Earning

An entrepreneur unwilling to learn is like a river without water: empty and with nowhere to go. A deep understanding of every facet of business and life is essential and is the only way forward. A hunger for new ideas identifies you as an entrepreneur. Every facet of your business requires knowledge, and a willingness to learn is the only way to gain that crucial knowledge.

Feeding the Machine

An entrepreneur willingly sacrifices any activities that don’t nourish the brain with quality content. Wasting time with gossip or social media is ditched. Instead, entrepreneurs favor inputs that build knowledge and experience. Personal time sustains the body and mind. Feeding the machine requires the commitment of the whole person, body, mind, and spirit to building solutions in shifting, challenging environments.

Passion

All of your energy, motivation, and hard work are fueled by your passion. If you wake up every morning, fired up about what you’re doing, passionate to thrive and succeed, then you are a true entrepreneur. If you spend your days thinking about retirement, or a beach, or some other escape from the moment at hand, then you might want to consider retiring to that beach. Entrepreneurs’ hearts beat with their lifeblood of building and achieving.